Technical Fouls

A couple of weekends ago, with my TV-watching family out of town, I was home alone. Not only did it signal a few days of peace and clean countertops, but also exclusive dominion over the big screen in the media room of my house. I had a rare, dream date with AMC’s “Breaking Bad” Binge – in huge, HD format with surround sound.

After an hour of trying (and failing) to turn on the high-tech system, I gave up and watched the “Breaking Bad” Binge in the kitchen, where at least I could mop the floor and watch at the same time.

I love the idea of modern conveniences and advanced technology, but most of the time, they don’t love me back.

I once successfully used GPS navigation to get out of the Galleria parking garage in Dallas. Feeling victorious, I began believing GPS would get me out of any navigational bind. Since the win in the mall garage, GPS has taken me to many interesting places … sketch-sketch-sketchy places.

GPS navigation works like this:

GPS: In one-half mile, take exit 214-B to follow LBJ Service Road.

GPS: In 500 feet, turn right and veer left in 100 feet to merge onto toll road.

Me: Wait – there are TWO turns in 500 feet. Turn right, right here? Or up there?

GPS: Recalculating route.

What I need from GPS technology is a little more real-life precision:

GPS: Hey – sorry to break in on the best part of this song, but you need to start getting over to the right lane now. You’ve got a half-mile until your exit near that Lowe’s on the right.

GPS: This part is tricky because there are two turns back-to-back. Do you see that gray Nissan SUV up there? Just follow that guy until I tell you something different. Also, I just remembered there’s a huge Nordstrom coming up, so be thinking about that.

It’s no small irony that the very technology we worship for its convenience is the same stuff we curse for its pain-in-the-ass-ness. Instead of sitting on an airplane, marveling that a heavily weighted machine will somehow defy gravity and transport hundreds of people through the clouds, across the heavens and safely back to earth, I’m more likely to complain to the caller on my smartphone, “No, I can’t pull it up on my screen because the Wi-Fi in this stinking plane is about as fast as dial-up, which means now I’ll have to watch the airline’s crappy sitcoms because Netflix will never stream!”

Technology’s questionable bedside manner is equally to blame. A couple of months ago, my husband Bob and I were going to an out-of-town wedding. We left the house on time, but Bob announced some late-game errands he needed to knock off his to-do list en route. Now frantically late, we were also lost, with no homing instincts between us. But that was OK, we figured, because we had Siri on the iPhone to help us navigate. Who needs a map?

Here is a transcript of the actual conversation between my husband (a mumbler of the first order) and Siri:

Bob: Locate me and show Harrison Road.

Siri: Here’s what I found on the Internet about Harrison Ford.

Bob: What?

Siri: I found several things about Harrison Ford on the Web.

Bob: Show Harrison Road.

Siri: I’m sorry Robert [in her best robotic voice], but I can’t find anything about a slow hare roast. Try again later.

Me: Argggghhhhhhhhhh! I hate you, Siri! [To Bob] You’re going to have to start over. Make your voice sound just like hers, otherwise she’ll only mock you. Tell her to “open maps.” Then tell her to “locate me.”

Bob: Start over.

Siri: Start what over?

Bob: Find me on the map.

Siri: I’m sorry, Robert. Would you like me to open your music?

Bob: NO!

[Bob is now punching Siri out with his middle finger.]

Siri: Was that ‘no?’

Bob: Yes.

Siri: Got it. Opening your music now.

Bob: Stop.

Siri: Stop what?

Me: That snarky little tart! We’re so late and she knows it! I blame you, Siri!

Bob: Stop talking to me.

Siri: I’m sorry, Robert. You’ll have to check stocks another time.

Bob: Turn off Siri.

Siri: I hope it’s not because you have a new assistant.

Bob: Anyone but you, Siri!

Siri: Whoa, Robert. That seems uncalled for. Here’s what I found online about Harrison Ford.  

Categories: Bits and Pieces